Have you been at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City lately? If you are craving for delicious food at one of the many Japanese restaurants inside Festival Mall, then you should take a look at Saibachi Japanese restaurant (stylized as SAI-BACHI) at the ground floor level just steps away from SM Savemore Supermaket.
In my experience, I’ve been dining at Saibachi in the mall from time to time over the past several years. Their restaurant has limited space (note: they have a counter for orders and payments, and a selection of food at a space by the wall just outside their restaurant), some chairs and their tables are small compared to those in other restaurants there. The current COVID-19 pandemic saw the imposition of limitations on how many customers could be allowed to eat inside restaurants (I’m looking at you – MMDA, Metro Manila Council and IATF). Even so, Saibachi still succeeded in staying in business and keeps on feeding customers with delicious food. Not even the pandemic and government overreach could stop them.
At this point, you must be wondering what food of Saibachi’s do I enjoy eating. Let’s move on!
For starters, I like their Miso soup which as of this writing costs P55 per single serving (small sized). In terms of taste and ingredients, it is good and satisfying to have. It is also one of the earliest items to be served to me in most of my dine-in visits at Saibachi Alabang through the years.
Futo Maki (Foto Maki according to Saibachi)
Saibachi’s Futo Maki is served with five pieces along with soy sauce and wasabi. Each roll is not as thick compared to what is served in other Japanese restaurants but to Saibachi’s credit, each roll is tasty and their specific selections of ingredients per roll shows precision. The 5-roll set is good enough in terms of taste and content for me personally. Those who crave for greater satisfaction with Futo Maki should consider a second set to order. The Futo Maki set nowadays costs P125 per order.
Fried rice at Saibachi (P150 per order as of this writing) is pretty tasty on its own. The taste is strong enough, I did not need to add any condiments anymore. Their fried rice has bits of meat, carrots, egg and a few other vegetables. For a single serving, the content is satisfying enough for me dining in. For anyone who craves for greater satisfaction of fried rice, you should consider ordering Saibachi’s fried rice offerings through their delivery and catering services.
This one is easily my favorite in Saibachi when dining in. At P220 per order, the Beef Sukiyaki is served by the bowl and it is what others would refer to as the “soupy type Sukiyaki” for it is prepared in soup-style. On face value, the bowl looks small but in reality, it contains a good amount of hot soup, Sotanghon-style noodles, pieces of beef, vegetables and one egg on top. Beef Sukiyaki served in other Japanese restaurants are often large (note: with lots of vegetables and ingredients served fresh apart from the soup) and prepared to feed at least three people. If you want a tasty Beef Sukiyaki for your solo enjoyment with lots of soup, enough ingredients and a strong taste, you will get it at Saibachi! Personally, I consider this as Saibachi’s dine-in special and I highly recommend it.
While they are referred to as a Japanese restaurant, Saibachi also serves non-Japanese food. Anyone who loves Korean-style noodles should order the Chapchae whenever dining in. To begin with, Saibachi’s Chapchae are really prepared to be very tasty and anyone who loves strong flavors will enjoy it. When it comes to content, I find the Chapchae solo-serving (P150 per order as of this writing) to be rather lacking. Any customer who wants more of the very delicious Chapchae should consider ordering another serving or go for the bilao-sized servings (for multiple people to enjoy).
The above-mentioned foods are the ones that I enjoyed collectively when dining inside Saibachi at Festival Mall over the past several years. That being said, I recommend their Miso Soup, Futo Maki, Fried Rice, Chapchae and Beef Sukiyaki to you readers. Apart from serving food for diners, they also serve meals of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Thai cuisine through delivery and catering. Going back to my previous dine-in experiences with them, they need to improve on their Beef Ramen which I must say is flawed and not exactly a satisfying ramen experience (note: the beef served had that burned taste and feel, and the noodles served did not look and feel made in store but most likely were sourced from the wholesale market).
Also, in my opinion, the interior of their restaurant inside Festival Mall needs some improving to be more comfortable for families or groups of friends (five people and more) to enjoy. I understand their restaurant space is limited and they need enough space for the kitchen personnel to work in, but I can see that some improvements could be made on the dining area. When I say improvements, I don’t mean a full renovation which can be very costly.
Ultimately, if you love Japanese food and you want it with the best possible value for your limited budget while visiting Festival Mall, I encourage you to try the food at Saibachi’s restaurant. Go there! They have lots of other food offered and their menu has lots of items for you to select.
Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you dined in at Saibachi inside Festival Mall lately? What meals do you enjoy there the most? Also, have you tried ordering Saibachi’s food through delivery service or through their catering packages? How often do you eat inside their restaurant whenever you visit Festival Mall?
You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.
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